Virgin White Tea Plantation Ahangama

A 30-minute long drive north from Weligama is the only plantation that produces Ceylon Virgin White tea celebrated across the world. The production process mimics a process that was once practised in ancient China, where the choicest tea was cut by the virgins, who never touched the tea leaves with their bare skin and offered the produced tea as a tribute to the Emperor. Considered to be one of the healthiest and the purest teas in the world rich in antioxidants.

30 minutes from Galle Fort lies the Handunugoda Tea Estate, perhaps the closest tea plantation in the world to the sea. However, this is not the only thing that makes the Handunugoda Tea Estate special. The estate is known as the Virgin White Tea Factory – it produces a white tea completely untouched by human hands. The process of tea plucking follows an ancient Chinese Ritual where the choicest of teas were cut by virgins who never touched the tea with their bare skin and offered the resulting produce up as a tribute to the Emperor. Handunugoda mimics this tradition, although these days the ‘virgin’ concept only applies to the tea, not the tea pluckers! This white tea is rich in anti-oxidants and is said to be the healthiest tea in the world. Coincidentally it is also one of the most expensive teas in the world fetching at over 1500 USD per kilo. According to the latest testing Virgin White has an anti-oxidant content of 10.11 percent, which is said to be the highest naturally occurring content of anti-oxidants in any beverage. Marriage Freres which is perhaps one of the world’s most exclusive Tea Salons situated at Faubourg Saint Honore in Central Paris offers its exquisite client Handunugoda’s virgin White tea.

Nestled between the evergreen rainforests and the Indian Ocean, the unique positioning of the Handunagala tea plantation, as well as the delicate process used in plucking the tea leaves, helps to retain its unique quality.

he Handunugoda Tea estate produces the world famous ‘Virgin White Tea’, a tea never touched by humans, and has attracted the attention of tea enthusiasts all over the world. Virgin White Tea is acclaimed for its uniqueness by many luxury tea connoisseurs. The Estate has been in the family of Tea Connoisseur Herman Gunaratne for more than a century. It was once a part of a large plantation of 2200 acres and in 1974 with the nationalization of British plantations 1000 acres were taken over by the government and 1000 acres was lost by predecessor (who was the President of the Suicide club at that time, an informal association of gamblers) on the roll of the dice. Hence currently the Handunugoda estate only comprises of a lush tea cultivation of 200 acres, of which tea is grown on 150 acres and the remaining 50 acres of the plantation consists of Rubber, Cinnamon, Pepper and Coconut.

There is a well-equipped tea factory with most machines brought down from the United Kingdom and are 150 years old, still working smoothly. The Machinery bears mute testimony to the British skills of engineering. The factory is a living and working museum.The estate produces only a small quantity of special teas. Our emphasis is on the health properties of tea. The plantation prides itself since it does not use any pesticides or insecticides. Handunugoda estate makes a very small quantity of the choicest Herman Teas, winning international recognition.

Only tea estate closest to the sea giving its own unique proposition, is nestled away 5 Km’s from one of the most famous tourist destinations in Sri Lanka, Koggala. The geographic location of the estate is very much closer to a rainforest where it’s a safe haven for a variety of animals and birds. Peacock’s, monkey’s, porcupine’s and Mouse Deer can be seen if your are lucky or pick the correct time. You are kindly requested to leave behind only your footprints.

Our Teas have won many international accolades and awards. The Virgin white tea, our flagship product, was presented by Jane Pettigrew at the World Expo in Las Vegas and won praise and appreciation. In Sri Lanka, we won the award by the National Chamber of Exporters as the Best Small Scale Exporter. Three of our Teas are in the Superior presentation packs of Sri Lanka’s biggest brand market leader Dilmah. The Anuga Food fair in Cologne Germany adjudged three of our teas presented by Dilmah as The Most Innovative Tea in the world.Our Virgin white tea is marketed in the several of the world’s most exclusive tea stores including Mariage Frères International of Faubourg Saint-Honore in Paris.

This exquisite tea plantation in the hills above Koggala offers (free) highly informative tours of the estate. You'll sample and learn how they produce over 25 varieties of tea here, including the fabled Virgin White tea, a delicate brew made from the tiniest and newest leaves. Where the average large plantation worker will pick 23kg of black tea in a day, the workers here manage but 150 grams of virgin white leaves. It's 6km inland from the coastal highway; signposted from the 131km post.

Experience Overview

A resident tea planter will meet you and take you around the private paradise of a working tea plantation. The plantation, which lies at sea-level, is the famed Handunugoda Tea Factory founded by Herman Gunaratne. Herman (or a team member) will take you on a private tour of his Virgin White Tea Estate plantations, where you will learn how the famous white tea is plucked and made into one of the best teas in the world. The visit ends with a tasting session and a piece of chocolate cake! There is also a small shop where you can buy Virgin White Tea – and other less expensive options as well.

Small children won’t follow, but they can play in the garden which is very safe and the local staff will keep an eye on them. Children who are a little older will enjoy learning about the process, particularly in the Tea Factory which has lots of noisy machines.

The Handunugoda Tea Estate is an exclusive tea estate with its own tea factory that has remained true to the rich tea traditions of Sri Lanka for over 150 years. Located in Ahangama, the Handunugoda Tea Estate is a family owned tea estate that spreads over 200 acres of land. Unlike other major brands in Sri Lanka, this tea estate doesn’t produce tea on a mass scale; rather it focuses on producing some of the premier blends of tea.

The Handunugoda Tea Estate has, therefore, gained a reputation for producing blends which have been acclaimed in all corners of the world. The estate also produces the highly acclaimed supreme “Virgin White Tea”, a blend of such exclusivity and purity that it is never touched by human hands during any stage of its production. A visit to this fascinating tea estate will give you an insight into how tea is produced. A highlight of the estate is the tea factory, which still uses machines made in the United Kingdom at least 140 years ago. Echoing rich traditions, and producing the finest blends, the Handunugoda Tea Estate is an actual living museum that is well worth visiting.